Anger Issues Test (Signs + Guide)

“You won’t like me when I’m angry.” This is a classic line from The Hulk, but really, who likes anyone when they’re angry? At best, anger is a natural emotion that we experience from time to time when things don’t go our way or we are overwhelmed. At worst, anger can be a monster. A person who cannot control their anger may end up hurting themselves or other people. 

Remember, anger is natural. A person who claims to never get angry is only suppressing emotions that are completely normal. After all, there is certainly enough in the world going on to make a person feel angry! But if your anger gets in the way of your ability to hold down a job, maintain a relationship, or grow as a person, you may have anger issues. Let this anger issues test help guide you toward getting the help that you may need. 

What Causes Anger Issues?

Anger issues are nothing to be ashamed of as long as you are taking steps to control them and keep the people around you safe. Most likely, anger issues develop slowly over time. Not one single event may have caused them, although traumatic events may heavily contribute. Years of stress from financial issues, family disagreements, and global events, over time, can also weigh on a person until the smallest triggers (waiting in line for too long, getting cut off in traffic, etc.) sets them off. 

Anger management is a learned skill. Not everyone is taught how to manage anger as a child or young adult. Fortunately, this means that an adult who intentionally wants to learn how to cope with anger can do so. There is hope for people with anger management issues. 

What Do Anger Issues Look Like?

  • Loud, violent outbursts triggered by small or significant events
  • Harming other people physically, verbally, or emotionally
  • Experiencing moments in which you feel “out of control” due to anger
  • Getting irritated easily 
  • Shaking, tingling, and trembling due to anger
  • Friends, family, and colleagues walking on eggshells to avoid causing an outburst
  • Alcohol or drug abuse as a result of anger or other feelings 
  • Impulsive decisions or behaviors 

Are Anger Issues a Mental Illness?

Anger itself is not a mental illness. Anger is a normal emotion that every person experiences, often rightfully so. You cannot be diagnosed with “anger” by the DSM-5. If managed properly, feelings of anger subside within a few minutes or hours. 

When a person cannot get their anger under control, or their anger leads to serious harm to property or people, they may receive a clinical diagnosis. “Intermittent Explosive Disorder” is not as well known as anxiety or depression, but is a mental health condition that therapists may use as a diagnosis. 

What Does Intermittent Explosive Disorder Look Like?

The DSM-5 lays out specific criteria for intermittent explosive disorder: 

  • Recurrent behavioral outburst representing a failure to control aggressive impulses as manifested by either of the following:
    • Verbal aggression (e.g., temper tantrums, tirades, verbal arguments or fights) or physical aggression toward property, animals, or other individuals, occurring twice weekly, on average, for a period of 3 months. The physical aggression does not result in damage or destruction of property and does not result in physical injury to animals or other individuals.
    • Three behavioral outbursts involving damage or destruction of property and/or physical assault involving physical injury against animals or other individuals occurring within a 12-month period.
  • The magnitude of aggressiveness expressed during the recurrent outbursts is grossly out of proportion to the provocation or to any precipitating psychosocial stressors
  • The recurrent aggressive outbursts are not better explained by another mental disorder (e.g., major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, a psychotic disorder, antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder) and are not attributable to another medical condition (e.g., head trauma, Alzheimer’s disease) or to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication). For children ages 6 to 18 years, aggressive behavior that occurs as part of an adjustment disorder should not be considered for this diagnosis.

How do you know intermittent explosive disorder is not actually another disorder like major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder? You will need to reach out to a mental health professional. 

How to Control Anger Issues 

There are many ways that you can learn anger management skills, whether or not you step foot in a therapist’s office. 

Anger Management Support Groups

“Anger management” isn’t just a concept from movies. If you want to work on your anger management skills, you can benefit from going to a support group. Look up local groups and meet people who are experiencing the same struggles as you. Together, you can all learn how to cope with your anger with the help of professionals who moderate and lead these groups. 

Mental Health Professional

Therapists can walk you through a variety of techniques to control your anger. Depending on the methods and tools the therapist likes to work with, you may find yourself:

  • Discussing the roots of your anger issues and any traumatic memories that accompany them
  • Working directly with your partner or family to discuss your anger issues 
  • Practicing mindfulness
  • Identifying patterns that lead to emotional outbursts (and discussing how to prevent them) 
  • Developing skills in emotional regulation 
  • Building communication skills 
  • Discovering other relaxation techniques or coping mechanisms 

Medication 

If you want to pursue medication, you will have to get in contact with a mental health professional. Medication can help to balance the release of mood-regulating hormones, but it cannot help you build other skills or choose the best coping mechanisms for your anger. Talk to a therapist or psychiatrist about how medication can work with other tools to help you manage your anger. 

Questions

  1. Has your anger ever led you to hit, slap, or otherwise physically assault someone? 
    1. Yes (4) 
    2. No (1) 
  2. Do you feel that you can control your anger? 
    1. Yes (1) 
    2. No (4) 
  3. How often do you say something that you regret out of anger or frustration?
    1. Never (1) 
    2. Rarely (2) 
    3. Sometimes (3) 
    4. Often (4) 
  4. Does your anger ever make you physically tremble, shake, or feel dizzy? 
    1. Never (1) 
    2. Rarely (2) 
    3. Sometimes (3) 
    4. Often (4) 
  5. Once something sets me off, it’s hard for me to focus on anything else. 
    1. True (4) 
    2. False (1) 
  6. When someone makes me angry or annoys me, it’s important that I put them in their place. 
    1. True (4) 
    2. False (1) 
  7. I have lost interest in my passions and hobbies recently. 
    1. True (4) 
    2. False (1) 
  8. You’re at a nice restaurant on a date. As the waiter approaches with your food, they trip and your shirt is covered in spaghetti and meatballs. How angry do you get?
    1. Not angry at all (1)
    2. Slightly annoyed (2)
    3. Angry (3) 
    4. Very angry (4)
  9. After booking a flight with a two-hour layover, your second flight is canceled and your layover now becomes four hours. How angry do you get? 
    1. Not angry at all (1)
    2. Slightly annoyed (2)
    3. Angry (3) 
    4. Very angry (4)
  10. You call a customer service number to ask about a product you just purchased, and you are put on hold. How long does it take until you get angry? 
    1. Five minutes (4) 
    2. Fifteen minutes (3) 
    3. Thirty minutes (2) 
    4. An hour or more (1) 
  11. How long do you tend to hold a grudge against someone before you forgive them? 
    1. I forgive quickly. (1) 
    2. Until we can have a conversation about our issues. (2)
    3. I can hold grudges for months or even years. (3) 
    4. There are some people that I will never forgive. (4) 
  12. My doctor has warned me that my blood pressure or stress levels are too high.
    1. True (4) 
    2. False (1) 
  13. During an argument, I have thrown items on the wall or smashed them. 
    1. True (4) 
    2. False (1) 
  14. After an argument or confrontation, I hate myself or regret my actions.
    1. Never (1) 
    2. Rarely (2) 
    3. Sometimes (3) 
    4. Often (4) 
  15. I’ve “blacked out” from anger and couldn’t remember what I said or did.
    1. True (4) 
    2. False (1) 
  16. You adopt a young puppy, and it chews up your favorite pair of slippers and pees on your new rug. How angry do you get?
    1. Not angry at all (1)
    2. Slightly annoyed (2)
    3. Angry (3) 
    4. Very angry (4)
  17. I feel comfortable having a calm conversation with a person who has made me angry in the past.
    1. True (1) 
    2. False (4) 
  18. I’ve used alcohol or drugs to help me manage my anger.
    1. True (4) 
    2. False (1) 
  19. How do you handle constructive criticism? 
    1. I welcome it. (1) 
    2. It makes me slightly uncomfortable. (2) 
    3. I try to avoid it if I can. (3) 
    4. Constructive criticism is likely to set me off and make me really angry. (4) 
  20. How often do you find yourself circling back to the same arguments that you have already had with friends, family, or colleagues? 
    1. Never (1) 
    2. Rarely (2) 
    3. Sometimes (3) 
    4. Often (4) 
  21. You have been talking to someone attractive on a dating app, and scheduled to meet on a Friday night. Friday morning, they let you know that something has come up and they can’t make it. How angry do you get? 
    1. Not angry at all (1)
    2. Slightly annoyed (2)
    3. Angry (3) 
    4. Very angry (4) 
  22. How often has your anger gotten in the way of forming relationships with colleagues, potential love interests, or neighbors? 
    1. Never (1) 
    2. Rarely (2) 
    3. Sometimes (3) 
    4. Often (4) 
  23. People have told me they are scared of my temper or outbursts.
    1. True (4) 
    2. False (1) 
  24. You have a big deadline for work coming up at 5 p.m. Throughout the day, people come to your office trying to set up meetings or distract you. How angry do you get? 
    1. Not angry at all (1)
    2. Slightly annoyed (2)
    3. Angry (3) 
    4. Very angry (4)
  25.  How often do you spend time thinking about past events or people who have made you angry? 
    1. Never (1) 
    2. Rarely (2) 
    3. Sometimes (3) 
    4. Often (4) 

Results 

Better Than Average Anger Management Skills 

25-40 

You do not appear to have anger issues that require the immediate help of a professional. (Remember that these results cannot be equated to a diagnosis.) Everybody gets angry sometimes, and it’s important to recognize that anger when it occurs. Continue to be mindful of your feelings, seek out healthy ways to manage them, and have productive, positive conversations with those around you. 

Average Anger Management Skills 

41-55

Everybody gets angry sometimes. You may have experienced moments where your anger led you to bad decisions, but nobody is perfect. Do not take these test results as a diagnosis. If you believe that stress, anger, anxiety, or other mental states are impacting your ability to live the life you want, do not be ashamed to seek help. Reach out to a community leader, coach, or mental health professional. 

Likely Signs of Anger Issues

56-79

Although it appears that anger has made a significant impact on your life, do not consider these results a diagnosis. Use this as a suggestion to reach out to a professional or group who can help you identify what triggers your anger and manage your emotions to prevent harm. There is no shame in experiencing anger issues. 

Please Seek Help for Anger Management

80-100 

Seek help for anger management. Do not use these results as a diagnosis, but take this as a sign to reach out to a professional. Therapists, counselors, and support groups can help you identify what leads you to feel angry and how to manage anger properly and live a more productive life.

Theodore T.

Theodore is a professional psychology educator with over 10 years of experience creating educational content on the internet. PracticalPsychology started as a helpful collection of psychological articles to help other students, which has expanded to a Youtube channel with over 2,000,000 subscribers and an online website with 500+ posts.